Keeping in touch
As you struggle through the rain and wind, carrying your marketing or sales message like a battered thermos, you could be forgiven for thinking the world doesn’t care. You’re right – it doesn’t. So what’s the answer? The simple truth is that you can’t afford to go it alone. Being a lone wolf leaves you hungry and in the dark. This issue of On Target
is about teamwork and joined-up thinking.
Our lead article explores the growing value of telehealth to an NHS focused on preventative and community-based healthcare. As both of the telehealth industry professionals we interview state, companies looking to become telehealth partners with the NHS need to think in terms of long-term rather than short-term profit. The lead story in this issue’s special extended news section indicates that NHS investment in building telehealth strategies is already under way. The benefits to public health and the UK health economy depend on industry and healthcare professionals working closely together.
Ruth Lessar’s article ‘Leader of the pack’ focuses on Key Opinion Leaders in the healthcare field: who they are, where to find them and how to build effective relationships with them. She notes that the new KOLs may be specialists in other medical disciplines, be working in the community, or even be expert patients. To make the best use of these influential customers, Lessar argues, the marketing and sales departments need to be working in tandem.
Our interview with David Worskett, Director of the NHS Partners Network, looks at the prospects for the independent sector in NHS service provision. His message is clear: “”ISTCs work best when they are integrated and work in partnership with the rest of the local NHS”. Worskett also points out that the independent sector needs to develop “innovative models of care and services”. In other words, to build effective business relationships with the NHS, you need to do a lot more than mimic their body language. You need to make all their language your own.
Finally, Chris Sheehan’s article ‘Flying start’ examines the secrets of a successful medtech product launch. He emphasises that launch planning often needs to start years before the event. Commercial groundwork and planning are essential, and the involvement of sales teams needs to be carefully phased in. Keeping in touch with your colleagues and your customers is the only way to ensure that, once the champagne has gone flat, the product sales figures don’t do the same.
‘You are not alone’ is more than a heartwarming cliché. It’s a statement of the only way to do business in the world of modern healthcare. For the marketing professional, that means channelling your messages to reach the right people in the right way. For the sales professional, it means remembering: if the only thing on your mind is pushing the customer towards a close, it’s likely the only thing closing will be the door in your face. And then you really will be alone.
Don’t be a stranger.Chris Ross